May 28th was my friend Carly’s 18th birthday. Since we wanted to do something different, in place of a typical birthday celebration, we went hiking. Carly and I decided to go up to the Governor Dick Observatory Tower at Clarence Schock Memorial Park. We packed our camera bags and at about noon I picked Carly up and began our easy 30 minute drive to the park.
We arrived and quickly realized that my phone GPS took us to a restaurant and not the park (thanks apple maps). The two of us drove around the town to try and find these supposed hiking trails. The journey took us to the Mount Gretna Lake and Beach where we asked an employee for directions. As it turns out, in order to get into the town of Mt. Gretna, you actually have to pass the entrance to the park we were looking for. Carly and I felt like pretty big goofs for not realizing upon arrival that we passed it. Nevertheless, we made it to the trail and commenced our trek to the top.
Immediately two things were realized. It was incredibly humid and the bug spray we used decided not to work. These two elements made for a very uncomfortable trip, but we didn’t let that hurt our spirits because we were determined to get to the top. The hike was fairly easy. We took a few different trails which led us to the main gravel path. From there we walked about twenty more minutes before we came to the final stretch of the hike. Towards the peak of the mountain, we came to a clearing with the observatory tower sitting at the end.
The closer I got to the tower, the more I realized how thin it was. Carly explained that unlike observatory towers we've been to in the past, the method of getting to the top was ladders and not stairs like I had hoped. A journey up a set of ladders with a bag and a camera in hand would not be easy, but I'm always up for a challenge. There were 9 ladders to climb from the bottom to the top of the tower and each one was about 12 ft tall. The ladders were off set from each other on platforms which means the climber would scale one latter and arrive on a platform, then walk to the next latter and repeat the process. I'm not entirely sure how I managed to do it but I made it to the top of the tower. I walked out of the ladder covering and saw an astounding view. I was able to see for miles over beautiful Pennsylvania mountains.
This whole day was documented as a vlog as well. Check out the video on my youtube channel: http://bit.ly/24jpl6h
Until next week! - Evan